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  Ambassador David Bonali & Marine Major Travis Patterson, SD
 
SFI Contact. A JL with Captain Winford and Major Patterson
 
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It had been only an hour after bringing Mr. Bonali on-board that Patterson made his way into his quarters, groaning slightly at the stress brought from the day, in addition to the loss and injuries to his team.  The lighting was bright, even though they were normally set only about 75% of the usual lighting, as he went over to the replicator to grab himself a glass of chilled tea, turning to move to his desk to look over a few reports before turning in.  The cigar found itself, by his own subconscious effort, to his lips, and a few seconds later it was lit, allowing him to savor the deep aroma and thick smoke, breathing a sigh of relief, but it wouldn't last long. A comm-link beckoned his attention, incoming on a secured line, and restricted with access codes he was all-too-familiar with- Starfleet Intelligence.


His sharp grey eyes focused on the screen and his features were twisted into a permanent scowl.  Captain Andrew Winford was a tightly wound man by nature, but his most recent discovery had him coiled even tighter.  Access to David Bonali's file was closely watched, simply for the chance to get his hands on the man before Rear Admiral William Blakely could protect him.  The murder of his partner still stung deeply and it burned the Angosian to no end that the perpetrator had gone free. When the screen displayed, his eyes moved over the man he recognized only by his personnel record as Patterson.  “Major, tell me you have Bonali in detention.”


The Marine's lips formed a gentle frown, and he gave a soft nod of confirmation as he tapped his cigar against the rim of the ashtray on his desk.  “In custody, for now. Unfortunately, you were late making contact, and Captain Taylor has received direct orders from Admiral Blakely to leave him here, as though we never crossed his path, however, there's the issue with these soul spheres we recovered prior, as well as a prototype weapon that, upon testing on some unwelcome vermin in our hangarbay, we discovered uses the spheres, either capturing the essence of the target and reducing it to smoldering goop- or emitting an extremely powerful blast that could probably knock a shuttlecraft out.”  His fingers brought the cigar to his lips once more, and he once again savored the smog, letting it roll from his parted mouth before blowing it out firmly through his nostrils, then sipping his glass again.


Winford released a low growl and clenched his fist off screen.  For the moment, his thoughts were focused on the Corolian and how he could circumvent the admiral's order.  “That is unfortunate,” the captain muttered. His gaze shifted back toward the major and his brows furrowed briefly.  The information about the soul spheres finally reached him and he considered how it was useful. There had been quite a tizzy in the Orion Syndicate about the loss of the ammunition to the weapon that they'd developed.  He was surprised it had ended up in Starfleet hands. “You still have the spheres?”


Once a Jarhead, and a hot-tempered one at that, always a Jarhead.  A hand rose to stop the Captain from speaking further. “Let me remind you, Captain, that though you hold a higher rank than me, I do not work for your department, and my immediate superior has his orders from High Command.  Be that as it may, I know very well you have your own connections, as do I- and I can assure you mine are far more qualified. I'm also having to send a letter out to the next of kin for one Sergeant Higgins, and Price, another of my beloved Marines, was seriously wounded by David's hand, but we all know the risks of our profession.  Yes, we still have the spheres, and the weapon that uses them, and we intend to find out as much as possible about these items, and possibly figure out a way to release the inhabitants. Until that mission is succeeded, and/or a more pressing concern draws us away, I will be keeping Mr. Bonali under my direct care, regardless of what Starfleet Intelligence or High Command may think otherwise.  Rest assured, he has no way to run- his vessel is in roughly thirty pieces in our cargo bay as we speak.”


He studied Patterson for several moments, the fire in his eyes intensifying with each word that the major spoke.  Another rumbling tirade slipped from his tongue, the only evidence of such the motion of his lips. Winford straightened and subtly glared at the man across from him.  “The spheres fall under my jurisdiction, Major. They-”


Once again, Travis raised his hand and interrupted the senior-ranking officer.  “Captain Winford. Let me be as clear as possible. If you want Mr. Bonali, the spheres, or ANYTHING that has to do with my immediate mission?  You'll have to come get them yourself.” The words were spoken with an authoritative, demanding, even downright daring tone, and the Major's eyes glinted with a hint of the abnormal bioluminescence from his nanites as he spoke.  To add to the intensity of the conversation, or rather, the opposite, Patterson moved his hand, which he used to stop the Captain, to the screen, and closed the commlink entirely, quickly overriding with a higher restriction level- Section 31 clearance.  The Captain had been overruled.


   
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